Do you ever get that pang of sadness after a big event? Do you know that overwhelming feeling of both exhaustion and happiness at having given yourself fully to something? I had a bittersweet moment of awe after Creative WYLD, that for a moment in time, a whole new reality was created.
Imagine a scene where 40 people are gathered, with no cell service, next to a river, in a valley with a higher population of turkey, deer, and fish than humans. Imagine a yurt on a hillside overlooking a geologic wonder, whose mist sours up into the sky like some magic witchy cauldron, begging you to tap back into your primal sense of wonder, awe, and raw potential. Now imagine those 40 people digging into what it means to do Deep Work, speaking openly and vulnerably about potential and persistence. Pair that with amazing, wholesome food, and then sprinkle in hiking, canoeing, yoga, then plopping your tired body into a hot spring every night under a full moon to remember what it means to be connected to the world in, below, and around you.
This was Creative WYLD.
Doing real creative work is a lot like falling in love. Nothing is guaranteed. It might not work. At some point, it will likely fall apart. The risk is serious, but I suppose not diving in would simply be too cowardly. Choosing the path of risk over comfort will change everything about the quality of your life. My own life has been altered entirely by my business endeavors. The highs are so high, and the lows are severe and brutal. The toll of entrepreneurship and creation are, at the exact same time, the most deeply satisfying AND the most difficult. There is such immense gratification when you achieve a “win” or create a solution. The feeling for me can only be described as euphoric in its intensity. I think that’s why any of us pursue building businesses, making art, or creating organizations and movements at such great personal cost.
During the event, I also realized how powerful partnership can be when love and trust are the baseline. Jordan worked so hard this year with his brilliant crew of friends, volunteers, and family members, to create a space where we could all be humans—undistracted, joyful, fearful, wild, ambitious people all eating, playing, feeling, learning, and growing together. It felt as though we were a small band of misfits following a rhythm set by the land itself—a slowness and connectedness only possible in landscapes like this.
Saturday night, as I walked away from the group taking pictures of the galaxy under a full moon, I stopped dead in my tracks as a shooting star blazed across the sky. It’s not as if seeing a shooting star is a life-altering moment. It wasn’t. What it did do was send a little tingle down my neck that raised the hairs on my skin. That light of that dying star took years to reach my corneas, and I stood there, all dumbstruck with a fat smile on my face humbled to the bone. In that moment, I was actually and truly thankful for every disaster, conflict, wrong turn, and trauma I’ve ever made or endured in order to get to this here and now. It all matters. It has all been necessary. It’s all part of the process of creating anything worth giving a damn about.
I’m so thankful for my Wylder crew for support, to our phenomenal contributors Anna Brones, Mo Heim, Abbi Hearne, Karen Pride, Paige Common, and Natalie Gildersleeve. And most importantly, to Maple Grove Hot Springs herself, for forbidding distraction and forcing us into presence in every moment.